Kate Telge, our Community Manager, sat down with Debi Mestre to chat about what it’s like to start strength training in your golden years. If you think it’s too late to get strong or reap the benefits of strength training — increased bone density, injury prevention, lower risk of falls, mental sharpness, and improved coordination — Debi’s story of strength will show you think otherwise.
Debi embarked on her strength training journey at 67 and quickly became an inspiring member of the Official Tonal Community. Along with her positivity and impressive strength gains, Debi has never been afraid to wear different hats or try new things. Throughout her life, she has been a nurse, a CPA, an attorney, and now runs a successful real estate business. When she’s not helping people find their dream home or at the beach, you can find her getting stronger with Tonal.
Debi began strength training for several reasons. “I got up one day and said, what is that on my leg? Oh, that’s my butt! I thought it was inevitable because all you hear about is gravity. I always wore sleeves because I didn’t like my lack of triceps. But we travel, and I felt uncomfortable in wedges and could no longer lift my suitcase into the overhead bin. I thought this is silly! It’s time to do something about it. Low and behold, gravity is not the issue — it’s a lack of use.”
So, Debi decided enough was enough. It was time to get strong again and get her arms back for good measure, so she started looking into her options. “I mentioned Mirror to my daughter-in-law and she said why don’t you check out Tonal?” After seeing the value of Tonal’s built-in resistance, Debi ordered one and never looked back.
When Debi first began working out with Tonal she couldn’t even bench press five pounds with her left arm. In fact, after her Tonal assessment, based on the imbalances between her right and left arm, Debi wondered whether she’d had a stroke without realizing it. “When I got ready to push my left arm up, I thought dang, did I have a stroke and somebody forgot to tell me? With no weight on, I could not lift my left arm up.” All of that quickly changed, and she has since improved the balance between both sides of her body.
Some time ago, Debi tripped, but thanks to working out consistently with Tonal, she was able to stay on her feet. Her son told there was a time she probably would have fallen, but that was no longer the case.
The best part is Debi’s husband has also had the opportunity to reap the benefits of strength training with Tonal. “For ten years, my husband has been working out with a group, and I could see no difference from that. He had great legs and arms, but his core and posture were awful. He walked like an old man. After using Tonal, he looks 20 years younger.”
For someone in the same position as Debi, or new to strength training, Tonal’s many features can prove useful. Debi spent time watching the videos to learn the moves as well as exercising. The muscle map was a huge help for Debi, it showed her what muscles should be working in each move — as a result, she feels more confident in using her muscles.
“I’ve learned things like how to use my lats and not just my arms. The videos help a lot because they walk you through the move, and with the muscle map, I like to touch the different muscle groups for the first rep to make sure I’m engaging the right ones.”
The Official Tonal Community has also been incredibly helpful for Debi’s progress, “I could not do a resisted dead bug. I posted that I was having problems in the community, and then the next thing you know Coach Jackson jumps in, and everyone is giving me a hack for something I can do in the meantime.”
While being able to bench press and do dead bugs has been motivating, the day-to-day activities are what matter most to Debi. For example, being able to lift and open an oversized beach umbrella at the beach and hauling her suitcase into the overhead compartment — both of which she can do on her own.
Debi wants folks in their fifties and sixties to know it’s important to get to strength train into their routines. “You could ride Peloton all day long, but that’s not weight-bearing, you’ve got to get your weight-bearing in, and that was the whole reason for the Tonal. For many years I’ve paid and not gone to a gym, so I thought why not pay and have it in the house? I’m not somebody who needs inspiration, but I love getting help. If this community didn’t exist, and nobody was there to see me, I have the motivation to go downstairs and use Tonal. It’s not about vanity, but being the best I can be going into the twilight years.”
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Tonal Talk is a weekly Facebook Live interview series highlighting stories of real strength from within the Tonal community.